- BJ’s Wholesale Club EVP and CIO Scott Kessler will depart from the company effective on Friday, according to the retailer. The company did not respond to requests for comment regarding Kessler’s replacement.
- Kessler has spent over six years with the company and previously was EVP and CIO at department store chain Belk.
- “There were no disagreements between Mr. Kessler and the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies or practices which resulted in his resignation,” the company said in an SEC filing Friday.
Kessler’s tenure coincided with a major modernization push.
While the pandemic forced many retailers to rethink digital and tech strategies, “the onset of the COVID pandemic caught us at a favorable moment in our digital development,” Monica Schwartz, BJ’s chief digital officer, said during the company’s Q4 2022 earnings call in March.
“We began our digital transformation by innovating across technology, merchandising, marketing and operations,” Schwartz said during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “Our objective was to build a profitable digital business that could leverage our structural advantage to provide the conveniences our members wanted at scale.”
In the last five years, the company has grown its digital business by more than 650% and digital assets facilitate over one-third of all merchandise sales, according to Schwartz.
As part of the digital transformation process, BJ’s has started automating core parts of its fulfillment operations. This year the company is testing tools to automate fulfillment capabilities, power-building and container offloading, Jeff Desroches, chief operations officer, said during the earnings call.
Last summer, Kessler joined a CIO automation council alongside executives from 16 other companies assembled by software provider UiPath.
“We're very focused on automation and a lot of the advancement that's happened across the industry over the last several years,” Desroches said.
BJ’s plans to deploy autonomous aisle-scanning vehicles in all of its locations, using data points to evaluate operating conditions, the company announced in March. The Simbe robots, known as Tally, will feed information to cloud-based servers that use AI to guide store employees in stocking shelves, locating products and handling other tasks.